runner with athlete's foot

Itchy feet? It might be athlete’s foot

What is athlete's foot?

Athlete's foot—technically known as tinea pedis—is an infection of the skin and feet, which can be caused by a variety of different fungi. David Pytowski, DPM, FACFASPodiatrist at ARC Kyle Plum Creek and ARC Southwest addressed this common issue in a recent article on Health.com.

What are the symptoms of athlete's foot?

Athlete’s foot can be asymptomatic, but when symptoms do present, one of the most common signs are red skin, itchy feet, raw areas between the toes. You can also experience a flaking rash along the sides of the foot, or blisters along the instep (the inner arch of the foot), which can be itchy and painful. In severe cases, you may also experience cracking of the foot skin, says Dr. Pytowski.

How is athlete's foot treated—and how long does it take to clear up?

Usually, athlete's foot can be treated with over-the-counter remedies such as foot powders, lotions, sprays, and ointments, all of which are generally effective for clearing up infections, says Dr. Pytowski. In some more severe cases, however, stronger options may be necessary.

One thing to note: Athlete's foot can mimic other infections that are caused by bacteria such as eczema or dermatitis, so it's best to check with a doctor before initiating any medication-based treatments, says Dr. Pytowski.

While the skin condition usually clears up with treatment, there are a few situations that require a follow up with a doctor. If you have diabetes, for example, sometimes these fungal infections can be more persistent and harder to treat. In rare cases, athlete's foot can lead to small cracks in the skin, which can then allow bacteria to enter and trigger a more serious bacterial skin infection, which can spread to other parts of your body such as the groin, says Dr. Pytowski.

Make an appointment today

If you’d like to make an appointment with Dr. Pytowski, call ARC Kyle Plum Creek at 512-295-1333 or ARC Southwest at 512-282-8967 or do so online.

Tags: Athlete’s foot